When it comes to organization, I am the queen—just ask anyone in my life. Everything has its proper place, from the shoes to the pencils, to the condiments in the fridge, and I like it that. I learned how to be organized at a young age (blame my teachers and my mom). But honestly, when everything is where it should be I can focus all my attention on my work. Plus, being organized lowers stress, keeps me motivated, and helps me to reach your goals (so obviously a priority)!
Since primarily I work from home, it’s really important to me to have calendars, planners, storage bins, etc. so that whenever I need something, I know where to find it. In a one-bedroom apartment (where I have my home office), oftentimes my items have to be transportable so that I can easily grab them to take with me, and I love finding products that are small enough to shove into my backpack when I’m on the go, too!
Whether you’re a freelancer working from home, someone who loves to cozy up at your local coffee shop, or just looking to improve your workspace and organize your life, here are some of my top tips for organization, and Amazon products I’ve purchased over the years that have helped me the most.
Tip #1: Write everything down.
What’s become crucial to me as a freelancer is keeping my schedule updated and with me at all times. Sometimes I’ll get emails on the fly, or I’ll be communicating with business owners about opportunities, or thinking of ideas as I go, and I need to have a place and space to jot down notes, dates, and information.
Here are a few products that have helped me with all of that:
This Blue Sky Day Designer has been a life saver for me. Not only is it small and skinny enough to throw in a backpack or small purse (or even in my laptop case), but it’s floral (which I love!) and has space for days, weeks, and months, with extended side panels for extra notes.
I love that it’s not only cute, but useful in terms of a larger, month-by-month calendar with day boxes are big enough to write appointments, writing assignments, etc. with extra room.
2. A weekly notepad.
Before I got really into planners, I loved using these weekly notepads (and still do from time to time!) This is a great product if you’re trying to just focus on one week at a time (something I wish I was better at!) It helps you to write down and organize your to-do list, makes sure you don’t forget appointments or phone calls, and helps you to not feel overwhelmed by seeing more than one week’s worth of obligations at a time (which is huge if you’re super busy!)
Simple, but a great product for week-by-week organization.
I can’t begin to tell you how happy I am with this chalkboard calendar. It’s hanging in my kitchen right now, and the vintage look of the wood + chalkboard is absolutely adorable. Not only does it match my house decor perfectly, but it’s also something I love to fill out each month with activities, work-related projects, phone calls, meetings, and date nights! 😄
The calendar is big enough to write multiple things for each day, plus, when paired with chalkboard markers (love these!) you can erase and re-write as you go!
4. Or, opt for a dry erase calendar.
Some people just aren’t into the whole chalkboard thing. I get it. Maybe depending on your home decor or personal preference it’s just not ideal. If that’s you, then having a dry erase option is awesome. In my childhood bedroom (and first ‘office’ I used for many years) I had this laminated dry erase calendar! Easy to assemble, use, and erase!
Plus you can pair with this nifty dry erase marker hanger/organizer (which is so convenient, by the way) to hang close to the calendar instead of all your markers being stuffed in a drawer.
5. These sticky divider tabs for organizing/color-coding your notes.
I feel like I brag about this product a lot, but that’s because I enjoy all the functionalities of a normal sticky-note in a big, planner/notebook size.
These dividers can stick in anything from books to planners and can help you with jotting down ideas while reading, leaving feedback (for yourself or others) on writing, or just helping you stay active in note-taking while completing something else. I love the bright colors, too!
Tip #2: Give everything a home.
Having a place for everything is so important. Not only does this clear up your actual workspace so you can get things done, but it helps for when you’re running around and need to grab something on the fly—you never have to worry about searching or wasting time looking for it! From pencil holders to file organizers, these are a few products I’ve loved for home office organizing.
6. This nifty on-your-computer writing utensil holder.
These screen pencil holders are the coolest, most convenient things in the world! DIY, you can easily adhere them to a desktop computer, file folder bin, or other storage area for easy access while working!
This All-In-One Organization Tray will help you organize files, folders, papers, writing utensils, office supplies, and more all in one place. (Me and my dad have both used this in our home offices and loved it, so yes, even Mr. Donnelly recommends! 😛)
Alternatively, here’s another product if you’re just looking for a computer stand and organizer drawer.
8. This cute hanging writing utensil organizier.
This hanging organizer is labeled as a bathroom product, but I’ve used it for anything from markers, to chalk pens, to random items around my house (like keys, safety pins, etc.) Regardless of what you use it for, it works really well to keep your office supplies up and off your desk, leaving more room to work. Plus, it’s adorable. (And the rustic wood matches the chalkboard, too!)
Tip #3: Declutter your eletronics.
Cords. Cords. Cords. Electronics have so many dang cords. From computer cables to USBs, HDMI connectors to phone chargers, your workspace (if it’s anyting like mine) probably has quite a few cords. And if you’re anything like me, you’re sick of navigating and sorting through these cords just to get your items to work.
Plus, if you’re trying to work on the go, you need to have these chargers easily accessible and removable so you can take your computer, etc. with you!
Here’s what you need to get organized:
This cord sorter comes in clutch every time. Not only is it classic black (matches everything) but looks sharp and keeps cables and cords all in one place.
10. Not your style? There’s also an option for a Bamboo cord sorter and stand.
This cord sorter/stand keeps both your devices and their cables in one place. The sleek design helps to blend everything into your workspace, plus offers you one organized location to keep everything in when not in use.
Tip #4: Color code.
This ties into some of the planner and calendar pointers, but color-coding is something that really helped me to stay organized. When I picked up a bunch of freelance jobs at the start of the spring, I started to write different companies/projects in different colors so I could know when I was meeting/having phone conferences with who and when, plus I could visually see and map out my weekly schedule without getting too overwhelmed.
Tip #5: Revamp your entire work area.
Sometimes the best organization comes when you make a major change. For me, having a home office in a one-bedroom apartment is a lot to handle, so I really have to make use of my space and organize effectively. I’ve found that organizer tables or bins that stack/have several layers or shelves can help with both aesthetics and comfort. I can arrange my items to fit my small space, but I don’t have to look like I’m squishing ten thousand things in one room, either.
11. Try a trendy and convenient organizer shelf.
Items like this rustic bookshelf, for example, offer a perfect mix of organization and class. I have yet to purchase this one, but I’m considering it when I move into my new apartment to keep with the rustic wood theme!
Right now I have stacking cube organizer shelves where I can combine my books and office materials with cubes that match my decor, paintings/picture frames, and other knickknacks so that my apartment is both cute and functional.
Tip #6: Do a purge.
Is there something you don’t really use anymore? Markers that have no ink? Pens that have dried out? Paper scraps that could be thrown away? These are such small changes, but they can take your home office up a notch.
Can you add a plant to your table? Open the window? Get rid of any old items, notes, and files you’re no longer using? Purge yourself of the unnecessary in order to focus on what you’re doing and working on right now.
These are a few of my home office organization tips and products. From items you can add to your collection, to simple things you can do right now, hopefully this list will get you motivated to alter your workspace and increase your productivity!
Featured Image Credit: Jeff Sheldon